Fresh, nutritious food will be distributed to those in McDowell who need it Thursday morning at Clinchfield United Methodist Church.

“Food-insecure residents of McDowell County will receive ‘just-in-time’ delivery of fresh, perishable foods like produce, dairy, meats and breads at the Clinchfield United Methodist Church food pantry in Marion, N.C., through MANNA FoodBank’s MANNA Express program,” reads a news release.

The delivery of food will start at 10:30 a.m. at the food pantry, which is located at 151 Ridge Road.

“With a recent $25,000 grant from UnitedHealthcare, the MANNA Express program is helping up to 300 people per week by distributing 6,000 pounds of nutritious food to those who need it the most,” reads the news release. “According to Feeding America, almost 1.7 million North Carolinians are food insecure. That’s 16.5 percent of people statewide who don’t have reliable access to food, higher than the U.S. average of 13.4 percent.”

More than 18 percent of North Carolinians ages 60 and older faced the threat of hunger in the last 12 months, according to America’s Health Rankings 2017 Senior Report.

“The state faces a higher prevalence of food insecurity than the national average, with several cities ranking among the highest in the country, including Greensboro, High Point, Asheville and Winston-Salem. There are 349 food deserts in 80 counties statewide,” reads the news release.

The $25,000 grant awarded to MANNA FoodBank in August 2016 is part of UnitedHealthcare’s ongoing effort to identify and support organizations in North Carolina that help seniors, individuals with disabilities and disadvantaged people live healthier lives. MANNA Express has distributed almost 260,000 pounds of food through the just-in-time distribution system since the grant was awarded last year.

MANNA FoodBank is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving western North Carolina since 1983 and an accredited member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. MANNA is located in Asheville on Swannanoa River Road. In 2015 MANNA distributed 15.7 million pounds of food through some 229 community-based food assistance agencies in 16 western North Carolina counties. Learn more at www.mannafoodbank.org.

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @myUHC on Twitter.